I will probably wait a few days before I publish this blog, because I don’t want to send too many blogs out a week, filling up mailboxes and facebooks with more personal dribble. After all, it’s invading your personal space, and you might not like me for it.
That’s the stress talking.
My husband came home from his 2nd shift job and woke me up at 4 a.m., asking if I was okay. It seems the knob on the stove wasn’t turned off all the way and the house was filled with gas fumes.
This is me talking through the stress.
I always thought the older I got, the less I’d care about things that upset me. That I could truly not give a $hiT about things that plague my every day existence.
That hasn’t happened.
I seem to be taking more and more things personally. I wasn’t near the stove yesterday except to take rice from the pot. I was second in line, delayed by at least 10 minutes because I was on the phone. But I was stressed because I thought I “might” have been the one who didn’t turn the handle all the way vertical. And stress, being what it is, told me that my husband and kids might start thinking I’m getting senile.
I’m training a newbee at work, and I’m upset because I’m training him on something I’ve never quite worked on, and his desktop shortcuts are different from my shortcuts, and my Photoshop froze up mid-demonstration, plus I’m slow in getting the hang of learning something new. And stress, being what it is, told me that I might lose my job or get reprimanded or not get a raise because of my dilemmas.
We are paying off medical bills as steadily as we can, and have worked with doctors and hospitals and told them we can’t afford “their” payment plan. We send in a goodly chunk of money every month, yet they still like to call and remind me of how much money I owe. And stress, being what it is, told me that I could go to jail or get in trouble for not paying off thousands of dollars of bills right away.
My wonderful daughter-in-law is spending Friday morning at my house, waiting for her husband to get off of work so they can follow us on a weekend escape, and I feel I have to spend 4 hours just cleaning my kitchen so she doesn’t get ptomaine poisoning. And stress, being what it is, tells me that she might not like me anymore if she has to spend four hours in my messy house.
Why am I so screwed up about these things?
I know I should save the stress for big things…Lord we know we all go through them. Jobs, families, and illnesses are all sources of stress. But lately I feel like I’m taking the blame for everything, leading to higher cholesterol, sleepless nights, heartburn, and worse. I’ve been told to let it go — you can only do so much, you can’t change others, do your best. Blah blah. After all, it’s not my fault if a computer program freezes or someone else is late for something I want to go to. Don’t sweat the small stuff, they say. Smell the roses. Get some fresh air and clear your head. Don’t take it so personally.
But I do. All of it.
I’m already taking something to keep the door closed on an all-out anxiety attack. Still I have to stop my mind from wandering and wondering about stupid things that have nothing to do with my reality yet really stress me out, like: what would it be like to be tortured? What would it feel like to be mangled in a car accident? What if I anger somebody and they come back and turn postal on me?
It’s like I have something to do with all the bumbles of the world. Like if only I were smarter or quicker or more graceful I could avoid most of the faux pauxs that happen around me. I don’t move as quickly or as calculatedly as I used to. 61 is not 31. But that doesn’t mean I’m one step away from senility, either. Who is thinking I’m getting senile? No one but me.
Yet I continue to second guess everything I wear, everything I do. I don’t work efficiently enough, I don’t clean my house well enough, I don’t learn fast enough. I’m not sure what “enough” is, but I’m sure someone somewhere down the line thinks that. I should have enough time to work and fill the dishwasher and visit my grandson and grocery shop. I should be able to remember codes and go to bed on time and cook great meals and go for walks.
But I don’t.
And that stresses me out even more.
I doubt if I’ll go to jail because I’ve made up my own payment plans, or never have my grandbaby over because I have dust bunnies peeking out from beneath my couch. I doubt one negative remark will terminate my friendships, or that leaving dirty dishes in the sink will make it into the local newspaper. I will still be the same person I was yesterday, which, in the grand circle of things, isn’t a bad thing.
I’ve got to find a way to not take the world personally. It certainly doesn’t take me personally. I’ve got to find a way to let go of a lifetime of self-doubt and self-judgement.
But now I’m going to stress out about how to do that.